Pumpkins are a popular fall harvested crop that can be grown in many different climates. Pumpkins are very easy to grow, but there are a few things you need to know in order to get the best harvest from your plants. Pumpkins are part of the Cucurbitaceae or the Gourd family which consist of nearly 965 species! That’s a lot of pumpkins and gourds to choose from!
How to grow Pumpkins
- Choose the right variety. There are many different varieties of pumpkins, so choose one that is suited to your climate and growing conditions. Some popular varieties include:
- Jack-O’-Lantern: This is a classic variety that is large and round, with a bright orange color.
- Sugar Pie: This variety is sweet and flavorful, and is good for eating fresh or baking.
- Cinderella: This variety is small and round, with a white rind and orange flesh. It is good for pies and other desserts.
- Prepare the soil. Pumpkins need well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or manure before planting.
- Plant the seeds. Pumpkin seeds can be planted directly in the ground or started indoors. If you are planting them directly in the ground, wait until the soil has warmed up to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and 4 to 6 inches apart. You can also grow pumpkins in containers as well! Be sure your pot Is large enough to hold the pumpkins root system.
- Water regularly. Pumpkins need about 1 inch of water per week. Water deeply, especially during hot, dry weather. If your are keeping your Pumpkin in containers you will want to keep a close eye on the soil as it will dry out faster in a pot.
- Fertilize regularly. Pumpkins need a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Apply a slow release fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks, following the directions on the fertilizer label.
- Support the vines. Pumpkin vines can grow very long, so you will need to support them with a trellis or cage. This will help to prevent the vines from breaking under their own weight. Or you can grow them across the ground given you have ample space.
- Harvest your pumpkins. Pumpkins are ready to harvest when the rind is hard and the stem has begun to turn brown. Cut the pumpkins from the vine with a sharp knife.
Read how to carve a pumpkin to carve your best pumpkin!
Here are some additional tips for growing pumpkins:
- Grow pumpkins in full sun. They need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to grow big and produce fruit.
- Avoid growing pumpkins in areas with heavy clay soil. This type of soil will not drain well and can cause the roots to rot.
- Mulching around your growing pumpkins can help to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
- Inspect the plants regularly for pests and diseases. If you see any problems, take steps to control them immediately.
- Pests and diseases: Pumpkins are susceptible to a few pests and diseases, such as:
- Squash bugs
- Powdery mildew
- Vine borers
- Mosaic virus
- When growing in pots be sure to use potting soil!
If you find that your pumpkin has pest damage act quickly! With early detection you can save your plants and keep them healthy.
To purchase pumpkin seeds check out ParkSeed!
Growing your own pumpkins is a great way to save money on fall decor and some pumpkins are great roasted, used for pumpkin pies and other recipes! So what are you waiting for? Go grow some pumpkins!